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Business & Economy

Utah Drone Company Gets FAA Approval, Hopes to Fight Negative Public Stigma

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Flickr: DFSB DE
A DJI Inspire 1 Drone

Unmanned Aerial Systems, better known as drones, are cropping up all over the news in recent months, mostly for flying where they shouldn’t. But one Utah company has decided to follow the law, and hopes they can be an example for how drones can improve lives.

Tyler Pack is one of the founders of AirVidTech located in St. George, Utah.

“With all of the negative aspects about drones in the news, we’d like to go out there and do the positive aspects of how it can help in business today,” he says.

Pack and AirVidTech offer drone services such as real estate videography, surveying, and 3D mapping.

“It actually took a lot of research on my part to find out what can be done legally with drones and what regulation was in place to facilitate any commercial operations,” he says.

What he found was that flying drones for commercial purposes is illegal, unless you get what is called a Section 333 exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration. The exemption allows someone to fly their drone commercially, but they have to have a pilot’s license, they have to be able to see the aircraft at all times, and they can’t fly it higher than 200 feet. To date, the FAA has given out less than 1,500 exemptions nationwide, including the one recently given to AirVidTech.

“I’m glad that the FAA has put steps for commercial operation, but there needs to be a lot more education, because most of the people that are doing things illegally or creating situations that are not safe with drones are mostly hobbyists,” Pack says.

Hobbyists are not required to have a pilot’s license, but still have to follow most of the same restrictions as those who are allowed to fly drones commercially. And while most of the rules follow common sense, such as don’t fly over stadiums, or near wildfires, it hasn’t stopped some people from doing it anyway.  Putting themselves in danger of being fined, or even worse, causing an accident and injuring someone nearby. 

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